YORKTON - A ‘slow roll’ protest paraded down Broadway Street in Yorkton Saturday as part of a worldwide effort in support of Dutch farmers.
The local ‘slow-roll’ was one of a number across Canada, to show support for farmers protesting new government environmental regulations in the Netherlands. Farmers there have been protesting government plans which could require farmers to use less fertilizer and reduce their livestock numbers.
The situation in the Netherlands is not unique. Recently, the Saskatchewan and Alberta Ministers of Agriculture expressed disappointment in the federal government's fertilizer emissions reduction target.
"We're really concerned with this arbitrary goal," Saskatchewan Minister of Agriculture David Marit said in a release. "The Trudeau government has apparently moved on from their attack on the oil and gas industry and set their sights on Saskatchewan farmers."
"This has been the most expensive crop anyone has put in, following a very difficult year on the prairies," echoed Alberta Minister of Agriculture Nate Horner in the same release. "The world is looking for Canada to increase production and be a solution to global food shortages. The Federal government needs to display that they understand this. They owe it to our producers."
So the protest here would certainly resonate with farm producers.
Watching the cavalcade of vehicles, most with Canadian or Dutch flags flying, also had to bring about thoughts of how fortunate we are to live in a country with the freedoms we enjoy.
Peaceful protests, and gatherings to educate have a long history in this country, and certainly in our city.
In the last year alone we have seen;
* a First Nations Walk down Broadway Street to foster remembrance and education for residential school survivors.
* People have gathered in City Centre Park to show solidarity with people in Ukraine facing an invasion by the Russian military,
* while others have gathered in the park to protest they see as unfair regulations put in place by government in response to the worldwide COVID pandemic,
* And, now the slow roll for farmers.
It is a core element of a democracy to allow for people to peacefully gather to have a voice.
It’s why striking workers can carry placards, and why political candidates can hold public rallies, and why protestors can roll down Broadway.
It is at present very trendy for some to suggest we live in some sort of dictatorship, a view largely held by those not supporting the Liberal party in the last federal election.
Of course in a democracy your party doesn’t always win. We should appreciate that in Saskatchewan more than most.
The Conservatives, and Liberal Parties giving up on their individual philosophies, and with some Reform Party MPs offering up support,cobbled together a united right in the Saskatchewan Party for one reason only, to defeat the New Democrats, something the separate entities had rarely accomplished,
But, one thing has always remained, a freedom to peacefully protest, and the slow roll Saturday was just another example of what we should always cherish as Canadians.